The Civil Aviation Authority has given Ryanair until 5pm today to clarify its cancellation policy to the hundreds of thousands of passengers affected by flights that have been axed through March 2018.

In a letter to the airline, Andrew Haines, chief executive of the CAA, refers to a statement made by Ryanair to the BBC, saying that it is willing to meet with the regulator to discuss  what is required of it.

He said he welcomes the commitment but is “disappointed” that the carrier has yet to respond to a request made on September 21 for clarification on how Ryanair will help the customers affected by its cancellations.

The CAA has now given Ryanair until close of business today to produce a press release explaining how it will re-route passengers and the criteria it will apply to assist these customers.

It also wants the airline to commit to helping travellers who have had to choose an alternative option that isn’t suitable for them as a result of the cancellations, as well as a clear statement showing Ryanair will reimburse any out-of-pocket expenses incurred by passengers as a result of the disruption – as is their right under EU law.

Haines went on to point out that some customers affected by the first round of cancellations may have already accepted alternative flights or refunds, “based on misleading information provided by the airline about what was available to them”.

He set out that the airline must issue statements to passengers explaining how they can be reimbursed for any difference in fare, if they accept a refund and book with another airline. It must also give re-routed customers the option to change their booking to another carrier if the Ryanair option is not suitable for them, in addition to reimbursing for transfers if their flight is at a different airport.

The CAA has given Ryanair until 5pm on October 2 to send a draft of the message it will send to customers, and until 5pm on October 4 to contact all affected passengers.

Molly Dyson